Olivia Newton-John

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Olivia Newton-John on the cover of her single (and later album) Physical, which was one of the biggest successes of her career.

Olivia Newton-John (born September 26 1948) is a British-born Australian singer and actress.



Olivia Newton-John was born in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, and is the granddaughter of Max Born, a German Nobel prize-winning physicist. In 1954, at the age of 5, Olivia, her parents, Brin and Irene Newton-John, and her older siblings, Hugh and Rona, relocated to Melbourne, Australia, because her father had taken a job there as the Dean of a College. Her father was originally from Wales and was a professor of German. Her parents divorced when Olivia was 11 years old.

By the age of 15, she had formed an all-girl band called Sol Four. By 1963, she was a regular on local television and radio shows in Australia. She won a talent contest on the television program Sing, Sing, Sing-- the prize was a trip to England.

Olivia returned to live in England, with her mother, when she was 16 years old, working as a duo with her friend, singer Pat Carroll (who subsequently married Olivia's producer, John Farrar). Olivia cut her first two singles, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine" and "For Ever" for Decca Records in England in 1966. Olivia's first album was titled Toomorrow [sic], which was also the name of the group of which Olivia was a member; it the brainchild of American producer Don Kirshner, creator of The Monkees. They starred in the movie Toomorrow. Although the band and film were commercially unsuccessful, Newton-John's solo career started to take off with her first solo album titled Olivia Newton-John which was released in the UK on Pye Records.

In 1968 Olivia met Shadows' guitarist, Bruce Welch whom she became engaged to until 1972. She made appearances on Cliff Richard's weekly show "It's Cliff Richard" and starred with him in the tele-film The Case. The public soon took notice of Olivia's talents and she quickly became one of Britain's most popular singers, hence she was voted 'Best British Female Vocalist' two years in a row by the magazine 'Record Mirror'. Olivia's first international hit was a song written by Bob Dylan called "If Not For You" which was produced by her then fiance Bruce Welch and John Farrar. She represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 and came in at 4th place. Later in the year, the single I Honestly Love You was released in the United States and became her first single to chart at #1 across the Atlantic.

In 1975, encouraged by expatriate Australian singer Helen Reddy, Olivia left England and moved to the USA where she became a hugely popular singer in both country and popular music. She had five #1 hits, including the song Physical, which stayed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks. She has earned many awards and received four Grammys. She has also received an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) from Queen Elizabeth II in 1979. In 1981 Newton-John received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in recognition of her outstanding career.

In the country field, she was respected and loved by fans as much as she was reviled (especially by country purists, who believed her brand of music had no place on country radio). In 1974, she won the Country Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year award, beating out such country heavyweights as Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Anne Murray and Tanya Tucker; another country icon, Tammy Wynette, wasn't even nominated. Newton John's win angered many pure country artists and fans, and perhaps as a direct result, some country artists and other influential personalities became members of a newly formed organization called the Association of Country Entertainers.

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Grease video tape cover

Olivia's film breakthrough came when she was offered the female lead in the highly successful movie Grease, after a chance meeting with producer Alan Carr at a party at Helen Reddy's house in Los Angeles. John Travolta had desperately wanted Olivia to be his co-star in the film and had let his wishes be known to Alan Carr and Randal Kleiser before either of them had yet to meet Olivia. "You're The One That I Want" and "Summer Nights" went to number one on international charts and stood at the number one position for 9 and 7 weeks respectively on the UK charts. This was followed by the lead with Gene Kelly in the cult film, Xanadu. The soundtrack of Xanadu was a collaborative effort with Electric Light Orchestra and its singles were very successful. Olivia also starred in Two of a Kind which received little acclaim but garnered hit songs. Olivia has also occasionally appeared in made-for-television movies and series episodes. She starred in the television movie "A Mom For Christmas" and appeared in an episode of the CBS series Murphy Brown. She had a small role in the independent film Sordid Lives.

In 1983, Newton-John and Pat Farrar, a longtime friend, founded Koala Blue, a chain of clothing boutiques for women with the designs of the apparel based on the unique style and colors of Australia. The chain was successful for some time but eventually went out of business. However, Newton-John and Farrar have licensed the brand name for a line of Australian produced wines, confectionery and other items.

She was married to Matt Lattanzi from 1984 to 1995. There is one child from this marriage, Chloe Rose Lattanzi, born in 1986. Since 1996, she has been with boyfriend, Patrick McDermott, a cameraman. In 1992, she underwent breast-cancer surgery from which she recovered. She actively promotes public awareness of the importance of early detection of the disease.

Her niece is singer and entertainer Tottie Goldsmith.

Billboard Hot 100 placements

Only Top Ten hits from the Billboard Hot 100 are included in this list.

  • "Let Me Be There" - (1973) - (# 6; Country #2 and a Grammy winner for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female; from the album "Let Me Be There")
  • "If You Love (Let Me Know)" - (1974) - (# 5; from the album of the same name)
  • "I Honestly Love You" - (1974) - (# 1, 2 Weeks; also Adult Contemporary #1 and a Grammy winner for Pop Vocal Performance, Female, and Record of the Year; from the album "If You Love Me Let Me Know")
  • "Have You Never Been Mellow" - (1975) - (# 1, 1 Week; also Adult Contemporary #1; from the album of the same name)
  • "Please Mr. Please" - (1975) - (# 3; also Adult Contemporary #1; from the album "Have You Never Been Mellow")
  • "You're The One That I Want" - (1978; duet with John Travolta) - (# 1, 1 Week; from the "Grease" soundtrack)
  • "Hopelessly Devoted To You" - (1978) - (# 3; from the "Grease" soundtrack)
  • "Summer Nights" - (1978; duet with John Travolta) - (# 5; from the "Grease" soundtrack)
  • "A Little More Love" - (1978) - (# 3; from the album "Totally Hot")
  • "Magic" - (1980) - (# 1, 4 Weeks; also Adult Contemporary #1; from the "Xanadu" soundtrack)
  • "Xanadu" - (1980) - (# 8 in America but a massive #1 in the U.K.; the movie title song featuring the Electric Light Orchestra)
  • "Physical" - (1981) - (# 1, 10 Weeks; from the album "Physical")
  • "Make A Move On Me" - (1982) - (# 5; from the album "Physical")
  • "Heart Attack" - (1982) - (# 3; from the album "Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2")
  • "Twist Of Fate" - (1983) - (# 5; from the "Two of a Kind" soundtrack)


Missing image
Long Live Love (1974)
  • Indigo: Women of Song (2004)
  • '2' (Duet album) (2002)
  • The Christmas Collection (2001)
  • Sordid Lives (Soundtrack) (2001)
  • Tis The Season (Christmas) (2000)
  • One Woman's Journey (2000)
  • The Main Event (1998)
  • Back With A Heart (1998)
  • Heathcliff (Cliff Richard) (1995)
  • Gaia: One Woman's Journey (1994)
  • Back To Basics (1992)
  • Warm And Tender (1990)
  • The Rumour (1988)
  • Soul Kiss (1985)
  • Two Of A Kind (Soundtrack) (1983)
  • Physical (1981)
  • Love Perfomance In Japan (1981)
  • Xanadu (Soundtrack) (1980)
  • Totally Hot (1978)
  • Grease (Soundtrack) (1978)
  • Making A Good Thing Better (1977)
  • Don't Stop Believin' (1976)
  • Come On Over (1976)
  • Clearly Love (1975)
  • Have You Never Been Mellow (1975)
  • Long Live Love (1974)
  • Let Me Be There (1973)
  • Olivia (1972)
  • Olivia Newton-John (1971)
  • If Not For You (1971)
  • Toomorrow (1970)


Vocal Profile

  • Voice type: Lyric Coloratura Soprano
  • Highest note: G6-A6
  • Lowest note: D3 (In the song "Emotional tangle")
  • Vocal range: 3.5 octaves

External links

See also

es:Olivia Newton-John fr:Olivia Newton-John nl:Olivia Newton-John pl:Olivia Newton-John sv:Olivia Newton-John


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